Advise and Consent

Director: Otto Preminger
Year Released: 1962
Rating: 2.0

The President of the United States (Franchot Tone), who's dying just quickly enough to kick it right when the movie's about to end, decides he wants Henry Fonda's character to be Secretary of State, but is met with opposition from a Southerner with a bug up his ass (Charles Laughton) and a youngish Senator with a history he's trying to protect (two things you couldn't be in the 60's: gay or a Communist ... or a gay Communist). There are lots of speeches about democracy and the American Way and freedom and so on - it isn't quite as woefully didactic as Inherit the Wind, but it's close - and the movie becomes a caricature whenever Charles Laughton's gentleman character is allowed to use elaborate metaphors and prattle on (sorry for Laughton that it was his last movie). The ending seems like it's rushing to get too much done at once, but it does at least try to balance the pessimism (blackmail/corruption in Washington) with optimism (Walter Pidgeon embodies the kind of 'noble representative' the country needs).